US Economy Adds 155,000 Jobs in December

  • jobs & the economy
  • January 09, 2013
  • employee confidence
  • employment data
  • temp services
  • GDP
  • jobs by industry

The nation ended 2012 on a positive note, with more job gains and a steady unemployment rate. The Labor Department reported 155,000 jobs added in December, bringing the total number of jobs gained in 2012 to 1.84 million. Throughout 2012, the economy averaged 153,000 jobs per month, which mirrored the 2011 pace. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.8 percent after revisions were made to November’s unemployment rate to 7.8 percent, up from the original 7.7 percent. The private sector continued to be a primary growth driver, increasing by 168,000 jobs, while government jobs declined by 13,000. One bright spot among this month’s report is a 2.1 percent increase in the average hourly earnings rate in 2012.

Details Behind the Employment Data

The December employment situation revealed many anticipated seasonal and sector trends, such as job gains in healthcare, food services and drinking places. Healthcare employment added 45,000 jobs this month, and rose by 338,000 in 2012. Food services and drinking places increased 38,000 in December. Construction also saw a boost in hiring, perhaps driven by rebuilding needs post-Superstorm Sandy. The industry added 30,000 in December. Manufacturing employment also showed signs of encouragement, rising by 25,000 jobs this month.

Jobs Hot on Hiring in 2013

While overall job growth has been spotty over the past year, with some sectors rising to the occasion and others contributing less-than-average job gains, there are several stand-out jobs across a wide range of industries poised for tremendous growth in 2013.

Within healthcare, physicians in urgent care and those with specialization in anti-aging medicine are in high demand, as are registered nurses. Due to sweeping changes in both healthcare legislation and demographics, healthcare facilities are bracing for an influx of patients who have never requested medical care and the needs of the 78 million baby boomers in the U.S. As such, employment of registered nurses is expected to grow 26 percent from 2010 to 2020 – faster than the average for all occupations.

The emergence of the third platform, including cloud computing, social technologies, big data analytics and mobility, makes IT professionals specializing in this field in very high demand. Also among the hot jobs in IT are software developers, specifically workers with proficiency in Java and .Net. The BLS projects a 30 percent growth of software developers by 2020.

As the housing market rebounds, opportunities for mortgage underwriters and loan documentation specialists are also abundant. Other hot jobs for 2013 include accountants, industrial engineers, electrical /hardware engineers, manufacturing production specialists, executive assistants and customer service representatives.

See a list of the 13 Best Careers for 2013

Worker Confidence Rosy Entering 2013

Randstad’s monthly Employee Confidence Index increased 3.7 points in December to 55.4, ending the year with one of the highest levels of optimism recorded over the last 12 months. In fact, the last time the Index scored 55 or above was in March 2012 when it reached 55.5. The Index revealed a growing belief among workers that the economy is getting stronger, and that more jobs are available. Further, a greater number of workers also indicated they could land a new job in the next 12 months. It appears workers mirrored the same resilience as their employers amidst fiscal cliff negotiations, presidential election and severe weather events.

Read more about U.S. Workers Entering 2013 With High Hopes For Jobs, Economy